Two Oxfordshire novelists shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year award missed out on the top prize this week.

Friends Liz Harris from Watlington and Carol McGrath from Launton were shortlisted in the Historical Romantic Novel category. Christina Courtenay from London took home the prize for her novel The Gilded Fan.

But Mrs Harris, 61, who wrote A Bargain Struck, a novel based on mail order brides in 1880s Wyoming, was delighted with the awards ceremony on Monday.

She said: “Darcey Bussell was a delight, and Helen Fielding’s speech was very amusing. Helen received an Outstanding Achievement award.”